A Day in the Life of a Student: Tyler Mackey

“I want to teach young minds about free thinking…the importance of learning for yourself.”–Tyler Mackey

Between working, studying, and volunteering, Tyler Mackey, a Junior at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, easily puts in twelve hours each and every day. Mackey works 30-40 hours per week at a body shop cleaning bays, crushing parts, and working on trucks–all to make his education here at SIUE possible. “I am twenty years old and I will be the first person in my family to get a bachelor’s degree,” commented Mackey. Mackey is majoring in Earth and Space Science Secondary Education and hopes to eventually land a teaching position in physics.

So, what is the typical day in the life of Tyler like? “I wake up, go to work, and then leave for class. After class, I go back to work and finish up until…derby!” Mackey exclaimed. Yes, after Mackey gets off of work, he makes a transition onto a different kind of wheels…those of roller derby, where he is both a volunteer and active participant in the contact sport. “I have played for the St. Louis Gatekeepers for close to a year. This league is actually number one in the world, and I really enjoy being a part of the team, but it does require a lot of practice and travel.” Staying up on his wheels requires a very specialized set of skills, but so does maneuvering and balancing courses with everything else in the mix yet, somehow, Mackey still finds time to study for his 16 credit hours. “Sure, life is challenging, but I make the most of it with the time I have here.”

Early on at the University, Mackey actually discovered he was unhappy in his major, so he changed it…twice. He eventually arrived at something he truly enjoyed–teaching. “I did an internship and found out that I did not like the field I was in. SIUE is an incredibly supportive environment and the professors here have really helped me along my journey. What I want students to know is that I found my path to teaching by asking for help and everyone here has been willing to lend a helping hand.”

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